11 May, 2011
British sportscar driver Nick Padmore won Round 4 of the Speed EuroSeries at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on Saturday. Co-driver Jean-Lou Rihon, who was due to share the car with Padmore in both of the weekend's races, was forced to miss Race 2 after heavily crashing their Norma M20 FC in Race 1 on Friday.
Having qualified in P2 for the 90-minute race, just behind the sister Team TFT car, Padmore immediately snatched the lead after the rolling start as the leading pair broke away from the pack.
Padmore handed over to Rihon who unfortunately spun off and hit the barriers shortly into his stint, ending their race and ruling Rihon out of action for the second race with a badly bruised leg. Team TFT's mechanics had to work through the night to rebuild the badly damaged Norma and ensure it would be ready for the race.
Saturday's 60-minute race saw Reigate's Padmore get a solid start and keep himself in P2, challenging for the lead as the pair pulled away from the rest of the field.
Since the regulations allow for a single driver to enter the race providing a time-dictated stop is made, Padmore came in to pit as soon as the safety car was deployed and rejoined just behind his team mate.
When the safety car came in Padmore did not hesitate and quickly took the lead, extending the gap by a couple of seconds per lap. He finished 8.6 seconds ahead and handed Team TFT their first victory this season.
This win is very welcome and a big thank you to the guys at Team TFT who were working until 1.00am to rebuild the car, so everyone's efforts really paid off this weekend.
"Spa is one of my favourite tracks so to get a win here is always special but I'm really pleased that we came away with a 1-2 for the team too. We've had really strong and encouraging pace throughout the weekend so hopefully we can take this through to Donington.
"I think we could have taken the win in the first race too, and it was a shame that Jean-Lou (Rihon) had to miss Race 2 race but the main thing is that he's alright and will be back with me next time out."
Padmore and Rihon will turn their attention to the next round of the French V de V Championship at Motorland Aragon in Spain on 27-29 May.